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Friday, July 10, 2015

2427 - Power Rangers: Zero Hour - SEVEN

Disclaimer: The author would like to clarify that Power Rangers and its characters is owned by Saban Brands and not the author.

Note: This chapter has been recently revised from its originally published version.


-o-

Most of the known universe is at war, embroiled in a bitter conflict between good and evil. A war in which the climax is close at hand.

The United Alliance of Evil, after generations of disposition, had finally fulfilled the United part of their name and began a conflict that had won them many worlds, torn down opposing empires, and most of all, resulted in the capture of the Eltarian sage called Zordon, who was seen as an icon to those who know his name. The fall of Eltare, the capital world of good, also dealt a crippling blow that left the enemies of the Alliance horribly demoralized. Despite this, those who could fight would fight and the Alliance's advances would be slowed.

In the end, all their struggles would be for naught. The final battle saw all progress good had made suddenly blown away by a ferocious hurricane in the form of what would be considered the Alliance's final plan. It seemed crazy to attempt a full-on conquest of the universe, but crazy works. Now the Alliance is on the verge of total conquest.

On Earth, a massive space armada surrounds the planet's orbit while battles are waged on the surface. Futile efforts to repel the Alliance invaders cause nothing but destruction and waste of resources. Humans are a strange lot, but they will soon be enslaved or destroyed; whichever is preferable in Astronema's mind, who heads the battle of Earth. Things have been going rather well in her eyes and with the Power Rangers in retreat and subterfuge, she felt the time was appropriate to prepare for the final blow.

-o-

From his personal command chamber aboard the flagship, the fallen king Mondo watched as the battle in space for control of the Machine Empire and its colonies raged on. His antiquated fighters were no match for Aradon's black-skinned quadrafighters, but the VF-20 Velocifighters he had kept on reserved were doing most of the dirty work. The Skybases were both evenly matched, only those under Mondo's command had the most experienced crew functioning them while Aradon's crews were makeshift bionoids who were essentially off the shelf. In his mind, the battle was already won, but Mondo's processing unit thought better of it. Rather than read the various statistic reports, he simply looked out the viewport and watched the firefight continue.

Within the lower atmosphere of Gorah Khan, quadrafighters can be seen ramming into each other, skybases embroiled in bitter dogfights, and new Stinger fighters flying about, taking out just about anything in their way. Within the outer radius of the central capital, Quadracrawlers of Mondo are held off by Aradon's own crawlers, which tend to release small spiderbots to infiltrate enemy crawlers or simply try to dismantle some of the Cog foot soldiers, who were having a hard enough time with the more advanced bionoids and Cogdeka assault troopers under the emperor's command.

Within the safety of his command bunker, Aradon stared into the battle display, watching the aerial and spatial battles in progress. For the moment, his own loyalist forces were keeping Mondo's armies at bay, but they were slowly losing ground and the enemy was close to breaking through. He has the gratitude of knowing that it will take them a long time before the battle reaches planetside, but knowing that it eventually will, he was instrumental in preparing for such a scenario. After a standard Earth hour had passed of battles, Aradon flicked a switch that activated the universal comm system that only his loyalist forces has access to. With a heavy heart, Aradon uttered the command he had hoped never to give.

"All troops," he said, "Execute Command Zero immediately."

From there, he slowly stood up and approached one of his guards by the bunker exit. "Come with me to the armory."

-o-

"What's the status of the new torpedoes?" Ecliptor heard Astronema ask him as he watched two Quantrons loaded a chrome-like torpedo into a Velocifighter.

"Both Torpedo 1 and Torpedo 2 have been tested and are being loaded onto this Velocifighter as we speak," the bodyguard told her, "But because of the suddenness of this attack, we've managed only three torpedoes." He briefly pointed to the silver-plated warheads being armed into the fighter's launcher. "These two being loaded have been modified with the most high-end shield technology we could develop."

"Excellent. The entire planet destroyed in one shot," Astronema said, "And no one will see it coming. What about the third torpedo?"

"It is in the main torpedo launcher of the other Dark Fortress," Ecliptor replied, "That torpedo is armed with a rotating shield system, but should only be used as a last resort."

Astronema nodded. "Chances are we won't even need that last resort."

-o-

An entire planet? Or something the size of a planet.

Overhearing the conversation, the bounty hunter Darkonda was hidden behind a barrier of stacked crates and metal barrels where those close by were oblivious to his presence. With the secluded area, he pulled out a scroll which had seven renderings of himself; all but one were stricken with a drawn line, indicating that he had used up all but one of his reserve lives. If he was going to die this time, it was going to be for something.

This is my last chance to redeem myself for being played like a fiddle by the likes of Astronema and Dark Specter.

He slipped the scroll back and activated his stealth power, rendering himself invisible. Using a bit of subterfuge, he made his way to the Velocifighter armed with the two torpedoes and entered into the cockpit. A quick study showed that all systems were set and all he had to do was start up the engines, which he did. A couple of the Quantrons around the fighter backed off in surprise as they witness the fighter with no pilot lift up and fly out of the hangar and into space.

Darkonda got out of his stealth mode and witnessed the battle fleet under Astronema's command. Now that he had access to powerful weapons, he began phase two of his plan and sent out a broadband radio signal that none of the ships present could trace or detect... all but one being can hear it and knows its purpose. Moments of evading enemy fire later, Darkonda smiles devilishly as the monarch Dark Specter appears before Astronema, who should be briefing him on progress despite not having summoned him. The false signal had accomplished its purpose and Specter took the bait.

"Better than I planned," Darkonda gleamed, "Now to finish this."

With slow engine speed, the strafing run could be called anything but, but neither Dark Specter nor Astronema noticed his approach. With his finger etched to the trigger and his palms sweating like never before, Darkonda continued his approach to Dark Specter until his targeting equipment confirmed a lock with a continuous beeping sound. The bounty hunter smiled as he took one final look at the Alliance monarch before he pulled the trigger and the torpedo sped out of its launcher.

"Good-bye, Dark Specter," he said as he witnessed the torpedo speeding towards Dark Specter's neck. "Time to die."

What followed was a loud shrieking that even the vacuums of space could not contain, as Dark Specter growled at the intense pain that shot throughout his body. Looking over himself, the Alliance monarch saw chunks of his hard stone-like body exploded and ripped apart. He found some strength to turn and witness the Velocifighter who had launch the weapon go for another pass. With his life force slowly fading away, Specter attempted to gather enough energy for a high concussion blast to destroy Darkonda, who was already flying the fighter on a collision course with the monarch. At the same instant, both launched their projectiles and both projectiles had made their mark. The torpedo from the fighter was enough to not drain Dark Specter of his remaining energy, but shatter his body apart, sending hundreds of meteors spiraling throughout space.

Meanwhile, the projectile had disabled the Velocifighter and Darkonda found himself losing control of the craft as the control panels and outer armor began to glow an orange color. He started feeling warm and before he knew it, the Velocifighter erupted into a flaming ball of twisted metal that flew towards the surface of Earth's moon. Darkonda, once again, had been killed, but at least this time, he died knowing that he took the leader of the United Alliance of Evil down to Hell with him.

-o-

Within the safety of her office within the Dark Fortress, both Ecliptor and Astronema stared out the viewport, baring witness to all that has happened in disbelief. It was one thing to have planned for something like this to happen, but they never actually expected Dark Specter to actually be destroyed in one swoop by an underling of all people. For the first time since her reprogramming, Astronema was in shock of what has happened. She emoted.

"He's gone," Astronema said, "For good."

Hard to believe that he is dead, but her own eyes couldn't deceive her. Ecliptor, for a long time silent, slowly walked up to her and laid a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"Congratulations, my princess," added Ecliptor, "Or should I say 'my queen'?"

She stared blankly and shocked at her bodyguard and closest confidant as the sudden realization hit her like a hard shot to the face. She was considered to be Dark Specter's second-in-command and heir. With Dark Specter gone, she was now in command of the Alliance. The self-proclaimed "princess of evil" had just become the queen.

"Get the comm system back online," she ordered, "It's time to make my coronation official."

-o-

The space debris of the massive explosion in space had already reached across various points of Earth and other surrounding worlds. Although they are quick-dropping objects that are superheated due to passing through the atmosphere, they do not cause any damage; they merely deflect off the ground or anything else that got in the way.

"What happened?" a coarse Ashley asked.

The answer came in the form of the double-tone from the Rangers' communicator. Andros was the first to activate his and almost immediately, Alpha Six broke out the news in a tone that would be considered to be in shock.

"Rangers, Dark Specter has been destroyed."

It almost sounded too good to be true, but the falling rocks proved otherwise. Before any of the Rangers could ask about who was in charge of the Alliance, the ghostly image of Ecliptor appeared in the sky, his bellows prompting everyone to stop their actions and look up to the sky.

"Dark Specter has been destroyed," he declared (almost proudly), earning groans and moans in response. "As a result, Astronema, princess of evil and heir to Dark Specter, is now the leader of the Alliance. It is for her that we fight and for her, we shall win the war."

All the Earth-born Space Rangers gasp in horror, but Andros remains silent as he stares up into the astral ghost of Ecliptor, who is soon replaced with the image of Astronema looking over them. The image of Astronema looking blindly over her new subservient does not only resonate on Earth in various corners of the globe, but also across other wartorn planets as well as those still fighting. For a brief moment, everything around Andros seemed to slow down and stop as the revelation of Astronema's ascension to the top sank in.

It should have killed any chances of getting his sister back, but all it did was increase his resolve to get her back.

The transmission of Astronema's abrupt promotion was transmitted throughout the universe, so there wasn't anyone who hadn't gotten the news. Worlds in dispute, worlds under the Alliance's command, and even Worlds that are not involved in the fighting received the transmission. For most Alliance members, the news is met with a mix of confusion and indifference. But for the major Alliance powers, the news is met with downright hostility. For them, having to follow another monster who has held on to the throne due to reputation alone was bad enough, but it was an insult to have to follow a human, let alone one from a long dead world. Nonetheless, no action would be held against her.

At least, not yet.

End SEVEN

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